Top 5 Books to Cry With

Crying can be therapeutic. So can reading. Therefore it makes good sense to sometimes combine the two experiences. And while crying due to events happening in IRL can be a seriously mixed bag, the beauty of books to cry with is you don’t have to deal with real tragedy to get the catharsis you need.

Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro

This book possibly made me cry more than any other book, ever. It did this without violence or gore, without cheap tricks, sentimentality, or even a soundtrack. Due to the nature of the plot, to say anything at all about this story is almost by definition a spoiler. Still, I can say the experience of reading this book made my world bigger in the way only a brilliant story can accomplish.

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All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

It sort of feels like a cop-out to say a novel about a terrible war will make you cry. But I promise it’s not the war stuff that will get the tears flowing. Realistically, the war does play a (major) role in the events of the story, but it’s the characters that break your heart. It’s the humanity of people on both sides of the conflict that will leave you with red-rimmed eyes.

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Rachel Joyce

This is supposed to be a sequel, but I think you get the best chance for tears if you read it first. I did it that way (by accident). There is a mystery the heart of this story. I will only say that I’m a sucker for unrequited love. I’ve rarely found a tale of so bittersweet, so satisfying, and yet somehow uplifting all at once.

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Dancing at the Rascal Fair

Ivan Doig

This is, in many ways, a much larger story than the others on this list. It begins small and swells, binding you to one character after another and making you care. This is the kind of story that is hard to anticipate. It rambles at times, but always reaches into your chest at regular intervals and squeezes. You might end up sobbing audibly and making your spouse ask if you need a tissue.

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The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

Okay, okay. Here we have war again. But what better book to cry with than a book about the power of books? Again, it’s not the war here that jerks the tears out of you. It’s the masterfully written characters, the persistence of hope when all hope seems lost, and the beauty of stories that bridge divides. If you pick this up, you will cry. Oh yes. You will cry, but you’ll reach the end feeling a little bit better about the messy world we live in.

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Wait … why do we want books to cry with?

Life can get stressful. Life can get real. A book that has you quietly weeping for hours can leave you feeling oddly refreshed when you reach the other side.

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